Click here to print this page

Planning Retirement Online

Light on a cure for Alzheimer’s

It won’t be this year, but perhaps one day we will get the best Christmas present of all – confirmation of a cure of Alzheimer’s disease.

When so many people are already affected by this disease and estimates that there will be around 1 million sufferers by 2025, and when you take into account all the carers also involved, it is something that is of concern to a great number of people.

Now exciting news is coming in from Stanford University in America that their researchers have discovered information about a protein called EP2, which is involved in preventing special cells from clearing the brain of bacteria, viruses and dangerous deposits.

These special clearing cells are actually called microglia and they chew up toxic substances and cell debris, and also calm inflammation in the brain.

The scientists say that microglia, which constitute about 10 – 15 per cent of all the cells in the brain, work well when people are young but when they age, the EP2 protein can become involved in stopping these cells working properly. Hence the brain starts getting “fogged up” with various problems including memory loss.

The scientists have so far worked with mice and when they blocked the production of EP2 with a special drug, the special cells starting working again, removing the sticky plaques and the notorious protein called A-beta, which can damage nerve cells in Alzheimer’s and is a hallmark feature of the disease.

Katrin Andreasson, MD, is professor of neurology and neurological sciences at the university, and was involved in the research.

She described microglia as the brain’s cops. “Our experiments show that keeping them on the right track counters memory loss and preserves health brain physiology,“ she said.

“If they lose their ability to function, things get out of control. A-beta builds up in the brain, inducing toxic inflammation.”

Memory loss was shown to decline when EP2 was blocked in mice with Alzheimer’s. Now the university at looking at ways to develop a compound which can block EP2 without key side effects.

Read the full report here.

Back to LaterLife Interest Index


Keep in touch with everything happening in Laterlife Today!

 


Bookmark This Share on Facebook Receive more like this

 

Latest Articles:

Health food of the month - Haggis

haggis

Most people have heard of haggis; the traditional Scottish dish that is closely associated with Burns night in January each year. But what exactly is a haggis and is it good for you?

AXA Health: 7 common causes of swollen ankles and how they can be treated

healthy feet and ankles with smiley faces on the bottom

Swollen ankles can be unsightly, uncomfortable and can cause some distress. Getting to the bottom of what’s causing the swelling is important in order to treat the problem effectively.

Sit up straight and walk tall! Posture is important!

woman in pain holding her lower back

One thing so many people suffer from as they get older is poor posture. For those lucky enough not to have any back pain, slouching is still a really bad idea that can be setting up problems for the future.

more

Can the NHS survive?

doctor checking patient's blood pressure

Most of us have lived all our lives with the National Health Service and it can be a surprise to realise that until it was introduced some people simply couldn’t afford medical treatment. Can you imagine what that would be like?

Back to LaterLife Health Section

Visit our Pre-retirement Courses section here on laterlife or our dedicated Retirement Courses site

Bookmark


Advertise on laterlife.com



LaterLife Travel Insurance in Association with Avanti